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When do you put yourself first?

What a loaded question. Especially for people who have a tendency to care for others. There is always
When do you put yourself first?
What a loaded question.
Especially for people who have a tendency to care for others.
There is always going to be someone who has it worse off than you.
So when, if ever, are you allowed to put yourself first?
Keep reading to find out.

I haven’t always been good at this.
This was a skill I had to learn
I let people walk all over me when I was younger.
It seemed to be the “kind” thing to do.
I didn’t want to hurt other people’s feelings.
So why not sacrifice my own?
Not rocking the boat led to calm seas.
Or so I thought.

It’s a bad idea to never put yourself first.
It leads to building anger and resentment.
But how do you know when you’re allowed to put yourself first?
How do you determine when enough is enough?

Here are a few telltale signs that you’re putting others’ needs above your own–and that you’re suffering as a result of it.

You find it hard to have any compassion for others.
No compassion for others usually means you have no compassion for yourself.
When this has happened to me, I’ve realized it was because I was burned out.
I just couldn’t do it anymore.
Some organizations in the mental health field give this questionnaire to employees to determine whether or not they have compassion fatigue.
And yes, compassion fatigue is a real thing.
It means you’ve been giving so much that you just don’t have the energy to give anymore.
It’s a natural response to extreme stress.
Which leads us to our second telltale sign.

You are no longer finding joy in what you’re doing.
Where did the joy go?
One day it’s there, and the next day it’s gone.
If it goes on for long enough, it can turn into depression.
If you’ve ever felt like this, know that you’re not alone.
People are more overworked than ever, especially in the United States.
Too much time spent in doing mode leaves no time for being.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “You’re a human being, not a human doing.”
That’s what I’m talking about.
If you get to the point where you no longer can find any joy, it’s time to make a change.
That doesn’t always mean going to a doctor to get help, although it could.
It just means that something needs to change.
You deserve to have joy in your life. We all do.

These two signs are just guideposts.
It’s up to you to be the observer, to notice when things are going off the tracks.
Here is my final thought for you for today.
Do not, and I mean this, do not beat yourself up over feeling like you’re giving all of your energy away to others. It happens.
But you do need to protect your energy so that you have some for yourself.
You have so much to give to the world.
It would be a shame if the world never got to see the beautiful gifts that you have to offer.

I hope you enjoyed today’s issue of The Mental Health Update. This is a labor of love, and I would love it if you could help get the word out. Send this link to someone who could benefit. Share this issue on Facebook by using the social media icons. Like The Mental Health Update on Facebook. It all helps.
Thank you. Be kind to yourself today.


P.S. Reach out if you need help. It’s not a sign of weakness. Send me an email if you need some resources or a friendly sounding board.
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Jordan Brown - Mental Health Writer, Poet, and Advocate

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